Harvard Endowment Loses, Trails Peers

Harvard University, the world’s wealthiest college, lost 0.05 percent on its investments in the 12 months through June, the second drop in four years, as the size of the endowment fell to $30.7 billion.

The school failed to keep pace with peers such as the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as it seeks to recover from a record loss of 27 percent in fiscal 2009. It also trailed benchmarks such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, which gained 5.5 percent in the same period, including reinvested dividends.

Jane Mendillo, the head of Harvard Management Co., which oversees the endowment, said the performance owed largely to the university’s investments in publicly traded non-U.S. and emerging-market shares, which had losses of 11 percent and 17 percent for the year, respectively. She said Harvard “carries relatively more exposure’’ to these types of assets compared with other universities.

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